This summer I will be in Washington, D.C. doing an internship at the National Air and Space Museum. Come with me on my big adventure!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saw more beards than you could ever believe.

Shall I tell you about yesterday? I was a brave little toaster and found myself a farmer's market in downtown Arlington where I then proceeded to buy delicious fresh strawberries and cherries. Afterward I went to the national aquarium that has no large fish, thank heavens. Large aquatic animals should not be kept in cages! I did see an octopus though. They give him toys and puzzles to play with. If you don't know all about octopi, you should spend a little time getting to know them because they are fascinating creatures. That was pretty much my day. I later went to check my email down in the business room and on my elevator ride back to my apartment two really nice girls told me I look like I should be on America's Next Top Model. I can now chalk it up to three people that have told me that. However, the first person was quite intoxicated and I think actually asked me if I had ever been on it.

Today I went downtown to see Rolling Thunder, which is a rally of Harley Davidsons that ride into town to promote veterans' rights. There are literally thousands of motorcycles that participate, which also brings thousands of patriotic people hungry for soft pretzels and awful music. I do admit though that I felt pretty badass walking around with old veteran motorcycle gangs, and I never felt safer in all my life. I wandered over to the somber Vietnam memorial which was swarming with people today. Amongst the flowers and pictures lining the base of the wall were several beer can tributes and fresh cigarettes in remembrance of the dead. Let me tell you, if I were dead all I would be thinking about is popping open a crisp Bud. KIDDING, POP. I do think that it feels more personal than leaving flowers though. Overall I felt a lot of respect amongst the people there, and it was humbling to see some tough dudes cry.

I then wandered through the Freer gallery, which had some amazing Asian art. My favorite part was this room called the Peacock Room that the founder of the museum bought from an old house and had installed in the museum. The focal point is this huge painting of two peacocks adorned with gold. It was rather breathtaking. I learned a lot more about Buddhism from that museum as well.

This evening was the annual PBS National Memorial Concert. I might just be a cynical bastard, but stuff like that is cool to a certain extent, and I appreciate the celebration of our country, but I have a hard time feeling patriotic in the state of our country right now, I hate country music, and I hate the idea of singling out one war hero in front of a crowd of thousands of men and women who probably had similar experiences. I also hate that actors from CSI New York are chosen to emcee the festivities. I feel that America is all about focusing on the dreamy individualistic hero-like appearance of war, so sometimes the bigger picture is blurred, and of course we are obsessed with celebrities which is why that CSI dude was center stage. If you want this post to be super long, I can keep going, but I don't feel like this is the place for me to jabber on about my poststructuralist-influenced beliefs.

On a lighter note, I saw a dude playing the Sesame Street song on a saxophone on the mall today, and I watched an old Navy veteran sneakily stick a bunch of grass in his buddy's pocket. God bless America, kids.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I don't know no James Brown, but at least I know who James Dean is.

Last night I thought our hotel was being shot at, but it was really just thunder.
This morning I thought I was dying because of a creepy dream I had.
This afternoon I took the metro to the city again to check out two of the busiest museums before Memorial Day weekend really hits hard.

When I got off the metro I noticed this awkward looking girl with a grinning overbite and jittery disposition. She looked so out of her element and fascinated me. When I got to the Natural History museum I turned around only to see her standing right behind me in line. She kept catching my eye, and I noticed her amazing metal robot necklace. She told me it was from "A young Russian designer" and that she liked my "cap" and then "All of you actually. You just look so beautiful." I always knew that Russians were badass because of Andre Kirilenko. She must have been related to him.

To be honest, I got really bored of that museum. I got kind of sad seeing all the dead animals stuffed and hanging there, but I guess it was worth it. I tried to block out all of the "Oooh, just like Night at the Museum!" comments and learn more about evolution in the special Charles Darwin exhibit. Perhaps I can brew up a pot of chamomile and have a war with my tea party roommates about it.

My favorite part of the museum was a comment I overheard spoken by a true hillbilly. "Look man," he said to his chubby sidekick while pointing to an exhibit of extinct animals similar to ones that are alive today. "Look at the old-fashioned rhino!!" Old fashioned? I don't think animals go in or out of fashion unless you are speaking of fur coats or leopard prints. I think what actually happens is that SPECIES DIE. It's a cruel world, kiddo. Go to the Charles Darwin exhibit. I know it involves a lot of reading and there aren't as many stuffed kritters, but I think you can/should handle it.

I then ventured to the American History museum where I heard a little girl point to Mary Lincoln's dress and Ham Lincoln's suit while saying to her little sister, "I'll be the princess, and you be the prince." The baby sister got mad because she didn't want to be a boy. Doesn't she know that "prince" was Abe Lincoln? I'd definitely rather be the boy in that case. The mother got mad because I don't know, she had a broom handle up her ass and hates hearing her children interact with each other? So far I've learned a valuable lesson that I hope I always remember. Either I am never having children, or I am raising them in such a way that I allow them to say funny things without barking at them, teach them what it means to be old-fashioned, and be honest with them. Instead of saying, "Stop doing that. It's disrespectful," when your kid is climbing all over a display case, why not say, "Hey. Don't climb on that because that's a rule of the museum. It's a rule because behind that glass is valuable stuff, and we don't want to make the glass dirty so that other people can see what is inside." I think that would teach them more effectively what respect really means. It's like I probably wouldn't just say, "Hey don't kill people. It's not nice." I'd probably say something like, "Hey don't kill people because if you do you'll go to jail or maybe even hell, and you probably wouldn't like it if someone killed you. Plus that person has a family and life, and life is kind of a big deal."

I also saw Kermit, Dorothy's slippers, the Fonz's jacket, James Brown's suit that says "sex" across the waist like a cumberbund, Abe Lincoln's hat that says "sex" across the hat band, Hilary Clinton's super ugly shiny blue dress, a bunch of war stuff, the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner, and much more. I just wonder why asians always think it is a good idea to film everything. You're really going to watch your trip through the museum in the future? Pictures save you some time when you're feeling nostalgic, and you can crop out all the other tourists. Whatever. Also, little girls should HAVE to know who James Dean is, but sadly I found out today that they don't. Aren't their grandma's or older moms teaching them anything?

I ended the day with a little blonde 4ish year old boy flipping me the bird with his tongue sticking out, and a bowl of spaghetti. Tomorrow I am set on finding a good farmer's market or something.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who loves the sun? Not my pale arms.

I've had an interesting couple of days to say the least. Leaving was really difficult because I've never been away from home for this long, or this far away. Plus, we just home-diagnosed Sir Walter Scout with doggie depression that was cured when I moved back home, just in time for me to leave again. Poor little chunky! I left Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. with my 49 pound suitcase, a scared tummy and sad brain. After landing, choking on wet air, and feeling like an infant forced to babysit itself, I HAILED MY OWN TAXI. This was a big step for this little baby. My taxi ride that I dreaded was not so terrible and I made it safely to my apartment, which I wasn't so sure was going to happen at the time due to the fact that my Islamic taxi driver was watching video footage of Osama Bin Laden on his Ipod while driving.

That first day was pretty much a shit storm. (Wait, my family is probably reading this!) I arrived at the empty apartment, not knowing where to even put my stuff because of all the random bras and laundry scattered on the empty beds. I was also severely disappointed in the apartment itself. My bed is squeaky, the furniture is depressing, the pool is scummy, and it looks nothing like the deceivingly beautiful pictures of the apartment online. Also, my roommates support the Tea Party, hang up inspirational quotes like "If you can dream it, you can do it," watch Finding Faith in Christ together, and eat nothing but jam and deli slices. WASN'T I SUPPOSED TO BE SURROUNDED BY AWESOMENESS? Needless to say, I was a very grumpy person that first day. I think I called my dad and David a million times, and also talked to my older sisters. Everyone back home has been very supportive!

Yesterday was slightly better, except I found out the water here is disgusting and my skin hates being outside (I usually figure this out every summer around this time of year.) I rode the metro by myself and landed in the middle of the National Mall. I got to see where I'll be working, which is by far one of the most impressive museums of all time, and then I ventured to the National Gallery of Art, the Native American Museum (who didn't give me an internship even though I'm 1/64th Cherokee! Bitches!), the Capital Building, the National Monument (so phallic!), and the Lincoln Memorial. It felt so weird and unreal. It was hard to be around families, tour groups, and couples because it reminded me of how alone I feel. After taking the metro back to my apartment, which I will now refer to as either I'm Paying $650 a Month for This? or Dumpy Plaza, I was shown the grocery store which didn't accept my debit card, and a place to buy bedding. Those scratchy sheets I slept on previously that were left by former inhabitants gave me nightmares!

Today was a major improvement. I slept in a little, almost passed out in the kitchen, felt like giving up, found the Tea Party book on the table, almost felt like hulk-punching that book and/or burning it, and decided to get out of the apartment before I did something questionable to the inspirational phrases on the wall. I went to see the Smithsonian's American art gallery and portrait museum and ended up spending hours there! I wish I could go through and describe to you all of the things I saw and learned. I then ventured to the archives and waited in a huge line, got sprayed by some sprinklers, looked at some old faded papers, and generally got my mind blown. Again, I would describe to you everything I saw, but that would take forever.

I'm still a little shell shocked and scared of what I'm doing here, but hopefully next week will be better once I start working and getting used to the humidity, the boring nature of my roommates, my squeaky bed, and not knowing anyone. Most people would love this type of freedom. I could literally do anything I wanted right now, and nobody would know! However, I'm realizing how disciplined I can be. Maybe I am going to learn a lot about myself this summer. We'll see how things progress.